The Israeli startup developing a consumer electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), AIR, revealed today that its AIR ONE two-seater prototype successfully completed a series of hover tests as part of the company’s drive to produce an advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicle for personal use by 2025.
The company said the eVTOL’s first flight was staged June 21, after which AIR ONE was put through multiple daily trials over a period of two weeks. AIR said the craft performed safe liftoff, hovering, and touch down maneuvers. It performed as designed in stable flight envelopes, with all operational and control systems fulfilling previously designated metrics. Advanced flight testing is slated to be carried out throughout 2022.
Somewhat similar to Sweden’s Jetson ONE flying car, the AIR ONE eVTOL is sidestepping the predominating activity in the sector – that is, producing aircraft for commercial air taxi and other AAM services – to provide next-generation craft for personal use.
Using a two-passenger design (compared to Jetson ONE’s single seat configuration), the AIR ONE eVTOL is being developed to fly maximum speeds of 250 km/h, and cruise at 161 km/h over a charge range of 177 km. Full flight time is an hour (three times Jetson ONE’s current, but advancing 20 minutes max), with 80% battery recharging taking 30 minutes – an hour for a complete charge.
Plane specs also note the craft can handle 200 kg of payload – probably more than two people flying off for a weekend trip would need for luggage. Changing graphics on the AIR ONE description page show several North American routes the eVTOL might fly, taking less than a third of the time a car would require.
AIR is already taking pre-orders for a first run of 200 AIR ONE eVTOLs, which go for a base price of $150,000. Initial deliveries are scheduled for 2025, following expected certification the previous year. The start of the long test flight process was the company’s first operational step toward meeting those objectives.
“It was truly awe-inspiring to watch AIR ONE lift off the ground for the first time,” said AIR CEO Rani Plaut. “We’ve been on this upward journey for nearly five years and cannot wait for the public to join us on this ride. This momentous milestone secures AIR’s spot as a market leader in the personal air mobility space, making the thrill of flight achievable on a daily basis.”
Since the company revealed its personal eVTOL intentions last year, the AIR ONE has undergone successful drop testing to confirm its structural integrity, multiple propulsion checks, and a series of electronic and stability trials to enable the hover stage to begin. Parallel to those, AIR has negotiated partnerships with air mobility companies FlyOnE, Espère AAM, and AeroAuto, establishing one of the first showrooms for electric aircraft in the US.